Women’s Global Health and Human Rights Issue
Women’s Global Health and Human Rights issue summarizes challenges that women experience in the world’s discriminative sections of human rights and health sectors (Mocumbi & Sliwa, 2012a). Women are denied their rights of accessing and enjoying to full capacity the complete state of health. Countries in Africa should put in a major health policy to help create awareness of the disease among women in the Sub-Saharan African region, defining some terms, for example, heart disease and health policy. It will also outline the effects of women’s heart disease and the possible causes.
According to World Health Organization, a Health Policy is a term used to refer to the laid down principles, the decisions, plans, and actions that direct the delivery and access of services designed to achieve specific health care goals within given societies. Heart disease is a broad term used to refer to several heart conversations, including coronary artery disease and heart attack. Some heart diseases may not show their symptoms immediately until their later stages since infection. Women’s heart disease affects women of all ages (Peters et al., 2016)
To educate or rather create awareness of women’s heart disease among women, a National Health Education Action Plan, as a policy, should be put into practice to educate women on the actions they should take in the control and prevention of the disease. African countries can implement this policy by educating the mass on preventing the development of risk factors of the disease, detecting and treating those risk factors, and preventing the recurrence of the disease and its related complications. Women suffer untold adverse challenges as a result of heart disease. This disease has several negative impacts on them, and it is caused by several risk factors (Mocumbi & Sliwa, 2012b). These areas discussed below;
Causes of Heart Disease
Those having uncontrolled diabetes are highly prone to cardiovascular conditions compared to their male counterparts. Diabetes changes response to noxious stimuli, leading to a higher susceptibility to heart disease minus experiencing any symptoms (Feinsten et al., 2017a).
Mental stress and depression
Emotional instability and depression have untold effects on women’s hearts more than men. Being psychologically unstable restricts them from maintaining a healthy lifestyle. These adverse or rather demanding circumstances they may be undergoing make them unable to tolerate this leading them to contract heart disease Feinstein et al., 2017b).
Women who smoke are more exposed to getting heart disease as compared to men. This thought is because women become highly addicted to smoking than men. As a result, they find it very difficult to quit this, and whenever they stop, they also cannot stop it forever since they do start over a short duration of time, this highly exposed them to getting heart disease (Nonterah et al., 2019a)
As usual, exercise is very important to our body both physically and mentally. Regular exercise to our bodies is important because it reduces mood feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress. For instance, exercises held develop positive feelings, reduce painful feelings, and bring the brain’s sensitivity, reducing depression, resulting in heart disease. Most women are reluctant to doing exercises, and this exposes them to suffer from heart disease.
During the expectancy period, ladies are exposed to complications such as diabetes and high blood pressure. During this fragile duration, expectance can trigger the mother’s overall risk of hypertension and elevated blood sugars; triggering these can lead expectant ladies to highly contracting heart disease.
History of previous heart disease in the family
Women are prone to suffer from heart disease than men in a family set up known to have had heart disease. Family history effects are highly evident in most cases in women. The prevalence of heart disease in family history is more in women; for example, research shows that if there were a history of heart disease in a family, it would reoccur mostly in women (Izugbara & Krassen, 2014).
Patterns of diet
Mostly hypertension is a result of an imbalance of salt in many women. Huge amounts of salt intake through diet changes from stable cereals, vegetables, fruits, and many other refined foods have large health implications. Consumption of an inadequately balanced diet and an increased intake of unsuitable food exposes women to getting heart disease than men.
Overweight or obesity
Obesity prevalence in Africa is highly evident in women than men. Compared to their male counterparts, the percentage of women with obesity is averaged to be between 10-15. This percentage is slightly higher compared to that of men. Weight imbalances in most parts of Africa in women, such as increased weight profile, have been directly implicated in rising heart disease in many women.
High blood pressure
Hypertension is a significant cause of heart conditions in African women. For instance, women suffering from stroke and hypertensive heart disease. Lack of awareness of high blood pressure and treatment among women exposes them to suffer and contract heart disease. Hypertension is a silent killer.
Women who suffer severe health risks that include oversized waist, imbalance in glucose, low HDL cholesterol, and high triglycerides conditions are highly exposed to developing heart disease. Metabolic Syndrome syndrome is a major condition that places even ladies at a higher risk of contracting heart disease (Nonterah et al., 2019b).
Women highly suffer from heart disease when they are at their unproductive age. During this period, estrogen levels produced are very low, exposing them to developing diseases in the smaller blood vessels. Due to this developed disease, women highly contract heart disease. During the reproductive age, women are protected by estrogen. During menopause, estrogen levels decrease hence higher exposure to heart disease.
Effects of Heart Disease in Women
Heart failure is a dangerous effect that occurs as a result of the heart failing to pump enough blood needed for the sustainable of the body’s needs; this results in the death of cells due to lack of enough oxygen that results in difficulties in breathing, severe chest pains which may radiate to back how or left arm. Heart failure can occur in different heart-related diseases, for example, heart defects, cardiovascular disease, valvular disease heart effects (Grace et al., 2016a)
According to Grace et al (2016b) suffering from heart-related complications can lead to the formation of a blood clot hence preventing the flow of blood through the blood vessels that transport blood to the heart resulting in heart attack disease, possibly becoming detrimental to the heart muscle, for instance, atherosclerosis is attributed to the causation of heart attack episodes.
This killer factor leads to heart disease leading to ischemia of the brain tissue, and this is as a result when arteries connected to the brain are occluded or blocked and little blood approaches the brain tissue resulting in numbness on one side of the body, instability, or loss of balance, poor coordination, confusion and trouble on speaking words out clearly. Stroke causes death of cerebral tissue; examples of those tissues are those that control speech, stability of a person, and memory. If someone lives with a stroke, these brain tissues may end up not functioning normally or take some time to retract their normal functions (Hodel et al., 2018a).
Miscarriage and maternal hemorrhage
Women who are in their reproductive age or childbearing suffer adverse effects due to heart disease. Complications related to heart disease place them in a very risky state during this period because this disease may lead to miscarriages and maternal bleeding, especially for women of reproductive ages and living with rheumatic heart disease.
Peripheral artery disease
According to Hodel et al (2018b) contracting heart disease makes your extremities, especially your legs receive insufficient blood. This peripheral arterial disease highly results to leg pain when walking. Most likely, atherosclerosis leads to this disease.
Sudden cardiac arrest
Sudden cardiac arrest occurs surprisingly; it occurs due to electrical disturbance in the heart, unforeseen cardiovascular compromise, respiratory difficulties, and consciousness mostly triggered by arrhythmia. The condition is a medical emergency; if quick action is not taken, immediate death ensues.
Pulmonary embolism is like a stroke, but here a vessel is blocked in the lungs. Pulmonary embolism results in shortness of breath, chest pain on breathing, and evidence of bluish skin. As a result of the body lacking sufficient oxygen, it can result in a deceased patient unless an immediate course of action is taken.
AFib is a minor heart disease that scarcely causes death. It results in irregular beats of the upper chambers of the heart instead of beating regularly. This AFib results in suffering from irregular heartbeat and feeling of fluttering in their chest. Suffering from AFib increases the chances of someone suffering from stroke or heart failure due to irregular chambers beat; hence blood can easily stall in the chambers and create clots.
Women suffering from heart disease are at great risk of suffering from aneurysms. This complication occurs anywhere at any part of the body, where the wall of the artery bulges. If it, for instance, breaks, it can lead to internal bleeding, leading to a difficult complication.
African countries should take preventive measures to ensure that those who are not yet affected by heart disease have the required knowledge of preventing themselves from contracting this disease, for example, by advising them against smoking and educating them on how to detect and treat this disease risk factors. Those who live with it should be given required medical attention and should also be guided on how to prevent future recurrence of the same disease.